This map of Barbados was published in John Ogilby’s atlas of America. The island’s central region is filled with drawings of local cash crops: ‘a Cabage tree’, ‘Indian Corne’, ‘Pappaw tree’, ‘Bennawnol’, ‘A Pine Aple’, and ‘Suger Cane’. The vignette depicts slaves at work on a plantation, transporting sugarcane to and from a storehouse. The lines ruled over the map represent thirty-two directions of a sailor’s compass, known as a ‘Rhumbline Network’. They are a characteristic feature of a type of navigational sea map called a Portolan Chart. In this case they are purely symbolic: a means to portray Barbados as an international trading hub and to suggest the constant movement of ships in and out of the country. Ogilby’s atlas was made for an exclusive clientele, many of whom would have had investments in the colonies. The map promotes Barbados as established and economically stable: an abundant island strongly connected to western trading markets.
- Article by:
- Peter Moore
- Military and maritime
Dr Peter Moore shows how three maps of Barbados promoted a flattering image of British colonialism in the Caribbean.